Pakistanis close bank accounts to avoid cybercrime

In this file photo taken on January 23, 2018 a person works at a computer during the 10th International Cybersecurity Forum in Lille, France. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Pakistanis close bank accounts to avoid cybercrime

  • Memon said: Previously we were victims of armed gangs, but now we’re facing online gangs that are bent on robbing us

KARACHI: Amid cyberattacks on Pakistani banks, many account holders are cancelling their debit and credit cards to avoid becoming victims of cybercrime.
“I’ve closed my online account because of ongoing cyberattacks,” businessman Abdul Samad Memon told Arab News on Wednesday. “The banks aren’t sharing details of what’s happening.”
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) recently seized the bank account of an ice-cream vendor that contained 2.25 billion Pakistani rupees ($16.84 million). And on Oct. 27, Bank Islami reported that its IT security had been breached. 
On Monday, local media reported the FIA’s cybercrime chief, Mohammad Shoaib, as saying customers’ data from almost every major Pakistani bank had been stolen in a recent security breach.
But the State Bank of Pakistan said there is “no evidence” to support Shoaib’s claim, and data from only one bank had been compromised.
On Oct. 26, the Pakistan Computer Emergency Response Team (PakCERT), a cybersecurity services provider, reported a data dump on the dark web from more than 9,000 debit cards, of which 8,864 belonged to customers of Pakistani banks.
The compromised cards were sold for $100-$160, PakCERT said, adding that there was a second dump on Oct. 31 from more than 12,000 cards, 11,000 of them from Pakistani banks. A total of 19,864 cards were compromised from 22 Pakistani banks, it said.
Experts say the breaches were well organized. “The pattern of infiltration clearly shows that more than one entity was involved,” said financial and banking technologist S. M. Arif. “The withdrawals have taken place through financial systems, which means it’s a failure of multiple entities at multiple points.”
Banker A. B. Shahid told Arab News: “Customers believed that the banking systems were reliable and secure, but their confidence has been shaken.”
In the rush to promote electronic banking in Pakistan, banks had failed to take steps to install anti-hacking systems, he said. It will take banks several weeks to come up with a solution to online fraud, he added.
Memon said: “Previously we were victims of armed gangs, but now we’re facing online gangs that are bent on robbing us.”


Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

Updated 24 April 2019
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Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

  • An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996
  • The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time

TOKYO: Japan’s government apologized Wednesday to tens of thousands of victims forcibly sterilized under a now-defunct Eugenics Protection Law and promised to pay compensation.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he was offering “sincere remorse and heartfelt apology” to the victims.
His apology comes just after the parliament enactment earlier Wednesday of legislation to provide redress measures, including $28,600 (¥3.2 million) compensation for each victim.
An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996. The law was designed to “prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants” and allowed doctors to sterilize people with disabilities. It was quietly renamed as the Maternity Protection Law in 1996, when the discriminatory condition was removed.
The redress legislation acknowledges that many people were forced to have operations to remove their reproductive organs or radiation treatment to get sterilized, causing them tremendous pain mentally and physically.
The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time.
The apology and the redress law follow a series of lawsuits by victims who came forward recently after breaking decades of silence. That prompted lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties to draft a compensation package to make amends for the victims.
The plaintiffs are seeking about ¥30 million each ($268,000) in growing legal actions that are spreading around the country, saying the government’s implementation of the law violated the victims’ right to self-determination, reproductive health and equality. They say the government redress measures are too small for their suffering.
In addition to the forced sterilizations, more than 8,000 others were sterilized with consent, though likely under pressure, while nearly 60,000 women had abortions because of hereditary illnesses, according to Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
Among them were about 10,000 leprosy patients who had been confined in isolated institutions until 1996, when the leprosy prevention law was also abolished. The government has already offered compensation and an apology to them for its forced isolation policy.